Ubicación y breve historia
Data on Marín

The name of the town comes from the patronymic name "marinus" or the Latin vocable "mare" referring to the fact it was built on a wedge-shaped headland that juts into the sea.

With a surface of 40.4 Km2, the district of Marin is set on the Morrazo Peninsula, on the meridional shore of the Pontevedra "Ria" (= fjord-shaped inlet of sea water that flows between hills, cliffs and beaches).

At 7 Km from Pontevedra and 27 Km from Vigo, there are about 25,000 inhabitants, more than 15,000 of which live in the urban area.
Its location between sea and mountains is exceptionally good. All around you can breathe that deep traditional seaman's land atmosphere and feel the warm spirit of the sailor in the local folk's attitude. The sea-related activities makes of Marin the motor of the economy in the region.

Short history of the town

The first parish organized was called "San Giao", or "Xuliao dos Ancorados". The breast-shaped sand grounds that extended on the coast from the cliffs of Punta Pesqueira to the reefs of Placeres were formerly occupied by small shipyards, net, sails and ropemakers concerns that made up the first settlements on the coast. These were mainly concentrated in those places named Puerto Marin, Puerto Zapal, Puerto Gudín and Pousos da Area.

On the slight rise between the brooks of Gudín and Lameira, the old hermitage of "Nossa Senhora de Guía" (= Our Lady of Guidance), raised by the marian devotion of those primitive settlers, constituted the first mark that would later develop into an urban centre.

Much later, in 1112, the borough of Marin was bestowed by the Queen "Doña" (= Lady) Urraca to the Knight Diego de Arias de Deza and his wife Sabina Díaz in acknowledgement for their loyal services. This grant included an extensive estate, with jurisdiction on practically the whole coast of the Ria of Pontevedra, the Morrazo area up to Marin and from Sanxenxo to the Tranzoeiras de Aguiño.

Sabina Díaz died without issue. In 1151 her widower took the holy orders at the Monastery of Santa Maria de Oseira in Orense and donated the borough and its maritime and land estate to the Monastery. For over 300 years the Monastery managed the legacy without too much trouble but, as from the 15th Century, it had to stand up to the greed of noblemen who perpetrated acts of intrusion and violence against the estate and the neighbours in the abbatial domains of Oseira.

A lengthy rivalry arose between the Abbot of Oseira and the Compotelan Mitre because the Archbishop of Santiago de Compostela, Lord of Pontevedra, endeavoured to meddle in the domains of Marin and take rights over the maritime area of the Ria.
But it is Suero de Oca, Abbot of Oseira, who would react energically. In 1486 he visits the Catholic King and Queen and asks them to remedy the precarious state in which the Monastery has sunk. The answer does not take long and that same year a Royal Charter condemns the noblemen who had committed acts of intrusion and violence against the Priorate of Marin to the restitution of the possessions they had seized. Nevertheless, the legal struggle would not end until 1612 when the Chancery of Valladolid confirms its own sentences as well as those pronounced by the High Court of Galicia.

About the middle of the 19th Century, a new period of development and progress unfolds for the town. The harbour of Marin acquires international status as foreign trade opens new horizons: the relationship with overseas countries increases outstandingly. Shipping lines are set up by american countries and in 1861 the "Compañia Transatlántica Española" (= Spanish Transatlantic Company) starts a direct service on a monthly basis from Marin to Montevideo and Buenos Aires. If since former times the sea had been the cornerstone in the life of Marin, as from last century the town has lived completely conditioned by it.

Archaeology and architecture in the region

This area has been inhabited for ages, as shown by the finding of prehistoric remains, such as petrogliphs, "mámoas" (= megalithic graves), "castros" (= hill forts, Iron-Age settlements), etc. There are also finds from Roman time; in Portocelo for example there was a small Roman harbour and a road ran throughout the Morrazo and across the district.

But the whole of the Morrazo Peninsula is located in one of the megalithic areas in Galicia and there is plenty of evidence of that culture, such as the "mámoas" (= megalithic graves) in Chan d'Armada, Casa dos Lobos, Chan de Pastoriza, Chan de Lagoa, and the "Mámoa do Rei" (= Grave of the King).

A good specimen of cave painting is the petrogliph of Mogor Beach, of which similar drawings have been found in Sweden, Lapland and Iceland.

Petrogliphs were also found in the Lameira River, in Cachada Grande, Pornedo, Subida, Carballal and Godalleira.

There are remains of "castros" (= hill forts, Iron-Age settlements), such as that in Porteliña, very similar to the one in Santa Tecla.

At a much later stage, the Romanic is represented in the architecture of Santa Maria del Campo, a church from the 13th Century, in which outstanding gothic wall paintings can be seen, and in the church of Santo Tomé de Piñeiro, peculiar for its pentagonal apse. Another church the traveller should not miss is San Julián.

Hermitages of different styles and from several ages can be found throughout the district. We should not forget the typical Galician "pazos" (= manors), faithful token of the lordly past of these lands. "Pazo do Cadro" is perhaps the most interesting of them, but we should nevertheless mention "San Blas de Aguete", "Pazo A Brea" and "Pazo Chirleu", the latter being among the best constructions in stone we know of.

The "hórreos" (= raised granaries that rest on pillars, the whole structure built in stone, roofed as tiny houses; very often they bear a cross on the roof above the entrance, in the manner of a miniature chapel) and "cruceiros" (= monuments to the Cross, outdoors shrine carved in stone, usually erected at crossroads) are scattered throughout the region and can be seen everywhere. Among the most interesting we should point out the "hórreo" that stands near the Rectorate of Ardán, peculiar for its 18 pillars, and the one in Pazo do Cadro, both from the 18th Century.

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